I have had difficulty writing lately, as in the last five months. Here is why.
I don’t have anything to say. Wait. Don’t stop reading. Because, frankly I have a lot to say and am choosing not to say it. I guess that’s what being an adult is all about, right? Whatever you are feeling or thinking, be sure to bottle it up, analyze its potential effects on others, and then put it on the shelf. Look at it from time to time and imagine what it might look like if you actually said it. Then, don’t say it.
Sure, the talk radio and trash TV people don’t have any problem with saying exactly what’s on their minds, or more accurately, what might be most apt to incite a negative reaction from others. But, that’s not how it works for most of us.
I thought when I started writing a blog, it would give me license to say exactly what I think and how I feel about all sorts of things. I could spout my opinion about politics and religion expecting only responses that would complement me on my incredible insight and my discerning nature. On the contrary, I evidently have a public to please. I have donors and clients and family members that may actually read what I write. I don’t want my words to hit an unintended nerve.
So, I have been in a writing crisis as of late. My most recent observations about life around me aren’t positive. This is a bad place to be for an optimist. Dire circumstances always produce opportunities, right? What I really want to write about are the positive opportunities. So, therefore, I don’t write.
Before you call the crisis hotline on me, let me clarify. Life in my home is great. Our kids are all growing and finding great expressions for their individual talents. We have a big vacation planned in a couple of weeks. We still laugh a lot. My work is fantastic. The Youth Ministry Institute continues to grow in many ways. Our youth ministers and partner churches increasingly become more satisfied with the services we offer. I feel as if we are having a great affect on people who lead the church.
I’m just not enjoying all the other stuff. My wife and I have said for years (our whole married life) that it would be nice to just find our own abandoned island and live there (shelter and food provided, of course). The other day my wife said, “Why don’t we take that same island and make everyone else live there? Why should we have to leave?” Great idea!!!
A month ago our associate pastor asked this question in his sermon (I actually wrote it down), “What if my faith were a product of my trust rather than my effort?” I have been carrying that around with me for six weeks. It may be why I chose to not give up or add something for Lent. Or, it may be why I have justified not writing about the very things that weigh heaviest on my heart. My effort won’t change them. My trust will, however. Is that why Jesus said that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. There is no effort in that.
So, all the “hopeless” junk I’m giving to you, Jesus. I trust you will be able to turn it all into opportunity.
As for me, I would like to write again. I desparately want to see the world around me as hope filled. Here’s trusting in the outcome….
Steve Schneeberger is the Executive Director of the Youth Ministry Institute. Beginning in 1985, Steve began a vocation as a youth minister serving churches in Kansas and Florida. He is a 1981 graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, has a business degree from Baker University (1985) and a law degree from the University of Kansas (1988). He is married to Carol, an elementary school teacher and former counselor. They have three children. Steve consults, coaches and teaches Visioning, Organizing and Planning for Success, Budgeting, Helping Youth Over Developmental Hurdles, Beginning Leadership – Mastering the Core Competencies, Conflict Resolution and Expecting Great Behavior for the Youth Ministry Institute.